This is your latest bulletin update on As the Nest Turns - the story of a bald eagle near Littleton, Colorado, whose lifelong mate died in the bomb cyclone blizzard of 2019, leaving her to care for her two unhatched eggs alone as she navigates life as a single eagle. The events described here are real.
When we last saw the widowed Momma Eagle, she was sharing her nest with a younger man just a week after her mate's death. Onlookers speculated that she had moved on with a new beau, who was an indeterminate number of years her junior. Could this eagle be a cougar in disguise? Paparazzi (and by paparazzi, we mean the very nice wildlife photographer who's observed this nest for years) snapped pictures of the new guy coming to the nest on a Saturday night, and he was still around for breakfast on Sunday morning.
But not. so. fast. Colorado Parks and Wildlife jumped in to say this strapping young man could just as easily be her juvenile son, and starting something with him would be il-eagle. They believe that if he is her son, he's back in the nest so that Mom can prepare his dinners and give him a comfortable bed at night.
"Could be hanging around because they are familiar," CPW's Jason Clay said. "Could be going back to the nest looking for food again."
There was no way to know for sure until the next mating season rolled around, but CPW felt strongly that Momma Eagle would still be in mourning. She had just watched her lifelong partner fall to his death in a record-breaking storm. Wildlife officials rushed him to their office, but it was too late.
And she was no-empty-nester after all that, either. His death left her alone with two eggs to raise by herself -- and, apparently, a grown son that hadn't come to terms with the realities of adulthood before moving out on his own.
And then, GASP!
Observers spotted Momma Eagle flocking around with ANOTHER new guy. One who's closer to her own age.
The same wildlife photographer, Winston Herbert, saw them in her nest together on Tuesday. From his vantage point, he looked a little hawkward, as she played hard to get.
But on Wednesday, he returned, and she appeared to show more affection:
At 10 a.m. she was alone. Then in [a] half hour, the male flew in overhead from South West. She knew 30 seconds before and started to make her cackling noise. He arrived with a flair, [then] she flew up and sat next to him and they are nuzzling each other.
That's right. Nuzzling.
Clay told us that this new eagle is mature, based on its looks. Eagles don't usually mate until they're about 5 years old.
A Denver Water crew working nearby has noticed the new pair, too, and alerted CPW. The Denver Water team confirmed they've also seen younger birds around, so there's more reason to believe those are the kids.
Some eagle-eyed watchers [social media users] now speculate that, maybe, Daddy Eagle's death was no accident.
So many questions, so little time. Was it a setup? Will Daddy Eagle return from the dead next [mating] season? Is this an acquaintance who's sliding out of the friend zone - or perhaps an evil twin tricking a vulnerable Momma Bird? Is she even ready to settle down? Maybe she needs a dating app - we're imagining something called "Tailfeather."
Answers to all that more, Next time on As the Nest Turns.
More from Next with Kyle Clark